West Ham United forward Michail Antonio sparks Everton interest, could test Hammers with push to leave
West Ham forward Michail Antonio could test the club’s resolve to keep him if he pushes to leave amid interest from Everton, the Daily Mail reports.
Wolves and Chelsea have also both been linked to the 32-year-old who is looking to leave the club, with interest now generating from the US as well [The Sun, 26 January].
The player himself has revealed that there have been talks this month over an exit, but the Irons are now against letting him go in light of injuries to fellow forwards Gianluca Scamacca and Danny Ings.
Manager-less Everton, a job which Hammers boss David Moyes has been linked to [talkSPORT, 23 January], need help up front and Antonio’s availability has “sparked” their interest in him.
Despite the Jamaica international, who has scored 66 goals in 254 games for West Ham, admitting there has been talks over an exit on his Footballer’s Football Podcast with Callum Wilson [26 January], Hammers sources have told the Mail that the injuries to his current teammates are a “stumbling block” to a move.
But the report also says: “West Ham’s stance could be tested if Antonio pushes to go but manager David Moyes is concerned about being left short in their race against relegation.”
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Barring a miraculous recovery from both Ings and Scamacca in the next few days there doesn’t look like any way that Antonio will leave in January.
An agreement may well be reached that allows him to leave in the summer despite there being a year left on his contract at that point, just as Craig Dawson ended up waiting one window extra before being allowed to join Wolves this month.
He has been a crucial part of the success under Moyes, and while he clearly isn’t happy currently with the team underperforming, his own form not at its previous level, and new arrivals eating into his game time, he said on his podcast he wouldn’t be upset if he stays.
There is every chance that he would be back to playing nearly every game if he were to move to Everton or Wolves, but Moyes doesn’t want to lose him to a relegation rival even if he did go [The Sun, 26 January] so that would seem to narrow his options.
He is in line to play an important role for West Ham over the upcoming fixtures, back in the familiar role of lone-striking option.
So supporters will be hoping that he can recapture some of the form he has shown in recent years plowing a lonely furrow up front for this club, but he will need his key teammates to do as Jarrod Bowen did in the 2-0 win over the Toffees last weekend (21 January) and produce some of the showings they did regularly last year.